RV Tips & Techniques
Outdoor recreation vehicles, RVs for short, are getting more popular by the year! Due to growing concerns regarding air travel, many people prefer to spend their vacations on wheels. Modern camper units are elaborate mobile lodging machines, able to carry all the comforts of home and able to offer a unique vacation experience.
As more and more travelers prefer driving vacations, many are discovering RV travel for the first time - and the FREEDOM, FLEXIBILITY& FUN that RVs have to offer.
For those thinking about RVing for the first time, we have compiled a small list of RV tips and techniques you should take note of as you get started.
RV Tip #1: RV Driving is Different - not Difficult
If you're an experienced car driver, you already have the skills necessary to drive a motorized RV. Most RVs and motorhomes have the automatic transmission, power brakes and steering you're accustomed to. With proper attention to the differences - such as vehicle size, height and weight - you'll find it fun and easy to take the wheel of a camper vehicle.
RV Tip #2: 10 Basic RV Driving Tips & Precautions1. Before you set out: sit in the driver's seat and adjust mirrors for optimal road views.
2. When turning, remember to allow for the size of your vehicle. The front and rear wheels will track paths much farther apart than those of a car.
3. Allow more time to brake, or to change lanes and merge onto a busy highway - big vehicles take more time to accelerate and slow down than small ones and are more difficult to maneuver.
4. When reversing your RV, ask someone to stand outside the vehicle and direct you. This will help you avoid any obstacles not visible in the mirrors.
If another person is not available, get out of the vehicle and inspect the area. Doing so can prevent surprises and accidents.
5. Ensure all passengers wear their seatbelts at all times when the vehicle is in motion. This is your best protection against injury from a traffic accident.
6. Drive securely. Always keep your RV on roads that it is equipped to handle
7. Plan your trip beforehand. It's easy to find campgrounds with settings and amenities that suit your taste.
Campground directories available at this site and at others on the Internet, at bookstores and public libraries provide nationwide and international listings and comparative information on fees and facilities.
8. Be safe. Always use marked RV campsites. Avoid boondocking.
9. Do the math. RV travel is affordable. A family of four traveling by RV can spend up to 70 percent less than traveling by car, plane or cruise ship.
Campground fees in the US average about $22 per night and about €55 in Europe, well below average hotel/motel room rates.
10. Get going. The RV driving experience is different, not difficult. With a little practice and proper attention to differences in size, height and weight, you will find that RVs are fun and easy to drive - and the start of a great vacation experience.
RV Tip #3: Protect the Environment- Recycle as you travel. Take note of campground recycling categories: they may be different from those you use at home.
- Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution. Don't put anything into the fire pit that will not burn, such as plastics, foils, and metals. Observe fire rules, which may change each day with weather conditions.
- Your favorite music may be your neighbor's noise pollution. Observe quiet hours for generators, boom boxes, and noisy games.
- Leave campground showers, the dump station, and the campsite as clean as you found them.
RV Tip #4: Camp NaturallyWork with nature. In hot weather, use natural shade, awnings and canvas covers. In cold weather, park where the RV will be protected from north and west winds. This is the most forgotten out off all the RV tips we mention here on this page.
RV Tip #5: Driving on Graded RoadsHere we offer our very best motorhome driving tips. The following list of RV tips are general ideas. Be sure to read your owners manual for any specific driving instructions that the manufacturer recommends prior to leaving on your trip.
- Unless your RV travels are very limited, sooner or later - whether your travels take you to Europe, New Zealand or the US - you're going to find yourself going up and down pretty steep roads. This can be a different driving experience, especially if you are new to RVing.
- On the way up, grades can cause engine overheating and extensive wear and tear, while the other side run poses the risk of failed brakes and losing control. You can, however, use your transmission to make the trip up and down mountains much easier, safer and enjoyable.
- Your actions will differ depending on whether you have a manual or automatic transmission, but the approach uses the same logic. Going up, you should strive to keep your engine and drive train operating in the most effective range of its power curve. Heading down you should effectively use the drive train to maintain control while preserving your brakes.
- Engine type (gasoline or diesel), transmission, engine capacity and vehicle weight will all determine optimal engine speed and gear selection when climbing any particular grade. You must keep your RPMs in the power range by downshifting as necessary. Start by building up some speed and dropping out of overdrive as you approach the slope, and if you are going to be in the mountains for a while, stay out of overdrive. With an automatic transmission you may not have to do anything else, just let the tranny take over. With a manual, downshift whenever your tachometer indicates that you are in the lower part of your power range.
- Watch the engine temperature, slow down and gear down to reduce heat build up. Be prepared to pull off if possible to prevent over heating, and if you do, leave the engine running for a few minutes at fast idle to keep your coolant circulating. If you have a temperature gauge on your transmission, watch it also; you don't want to ruin your fluid by letting it overheat for any length of time. Again, pull off and idle if necessary.
- Heading down the other side, it's all about control. Holding down your speed is essential for safety. The longer and steeper the grade, the more you should use your drive train to maintain speed control. Using brakes alone can cause them to overheat and lose their effectiveness when you most need them. On grades of 5% or less, running with overdrive disengaged may be sufficient, but steeper hills will likely require lower gears.
- A common rule of thumb is to use the same gear going down as you used on the way up. This may vary with your weight and vehicle; you'll learn as you gain experience, but start slow and in control.
- With an automatic transmission you will need to drop it into lower gears yourself. Keep an eye on your engine speed and use your brakes to avoid red-lining or going too fast. But do not ride your brakes; apply them in short hard bursts to reduce your speed.
We hope you enjoyed these RV tips and general ideas. Be sure to read your owners manual for any specific driving instructions that the manufacturer recommends.